Bible.com / YouVersion anti-Catholic?

I use the Bible app and Bible.com because I love the functionality of the site ALL FOR FREE!

I am a Computer Science student and have taking several classes in UI design and web development, and I am impressed with this app and website. It’s not often that you get a good quality Christian site like this, as most CS talent goes to secular pursuits.

I have done a few of the Bible reading plans and such, as that is one place where my faith struggles, is in reading the Bible. But I was recently doing a plan with one of my buddies, and the plan deliberately attacked Catholicism. Here’s an excerpt:

When the church was started, everyone understood this. But at some point, there arose a group of professional clergy, a spiritual elite who took over the ministry. The attitude then developed that meaningful ministry was for the professionals and that the people were recipients and spectators of ministry.

This is not God’s way of doing church. In fact, this is a diabolical strategy to hamstring God’s work and to stifle the spiritual growth of God’s people. Moreover, pastors and priests were also to blame for this tragedy, because they enjoyed their status as the spiritual elite and did not want to give up control.

Let me ask you: What is the most effective way of doing church? Should we put the ministry in the hands of a few seminary-educated, robe-wearing, jargon-talking professionals, or should we empower all of God’s people to do the ministry?

I was under the impression that this organization was intended to be non-denominational, and I think that if their goal is truly to reach EVERYONE, then they’re doing a poor job by allowing this plan into their catalog, considering that 53% of Christians are Catholic.

Maybe I’m overreacting and feeling attacked where no attack is present, but that’s why I need someone else’s input.

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That is most certainly a criticism of Catholicism. I never understood that site to be unbiased however.

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There are certain people I have met online, some of whom describe themselves as “New Testament Christians,” who take this issue very seriously. Any church having ordained clergy that it calls “priests” is clearly – they claim – breaking the rules laid down in the New Testament. The ones I’ve met are friendly, intelligent people, but they have this blind spot. I would avoid any Bible site that preaches their false gospel. There are plenty of other good sites such as:

  • Bible Hub
  • Bible Gateway
  • Study Light
  • Biblia Clerus (a specifically Catholic site)
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I don’t trust anyone who says the phrase “doing church” (or “being church” without any article, for that matter).

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As for this actual argument, how do they define “ministry”? Clearly, we all must participate in the Church’s mission, but that does not mean we all have the same ministries (1 Cor. 12:29 “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?”).

And nowhere in the New Testament do such leaders take it upon themselves–there is a clear hierarchy and those who preach must be sent (cf. Rom. 10:15)–even Paul himself had to have his ministry cleared and authorized with the chief Apostles. Seminaries, etc. are tools those in authority use to help discern who should be sent, who should have what role, etc. otherwise it would anarchy without discernment.

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Don’t forget about:

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Thank you for those recommendations, definitely going to check them out!

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Oh yes, thank you! The thing I love about Bible.com is the guides and plans, though. Just wasn’t expecting them to anti-Catholic

RIGHT?! I thought that was ridiculous as well.

Thank you, very well put.

I guess I’ve never known them to be intrinsically unbiased, but I just thought that an app with the sole purpose of learning and reading the Bible should probably be at least somewhat unbiased. Guess I was wrong.

Bible studies are never unbiased.

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In addition to the four I listed earlier, there’s also a different kind of Biblical website, apparently operated by a single priest, Fr. Felix Just S.J. He provides a wide variety of informative material.

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I use YouVersion - there’s nothing explicitly wrong with it, as you well outlined in your OP. The reading plans, however, are usually not their content but submissions from other sources. This is one way they keep in nondenominational — or better, multidenominational. You should check out the authorship of the plans before diving in, and then you can avoid the ones we’ll have doctrinal disagreements with.

I’ve been doing reading plans on there for years. I even contacted one of the plan publishers once because some text in one of the plans was unclear on his attitude toward Catholicism. He responded almost immediately and was apologetic that he had been unclear but didn’t understand; I wrote back and explained, and he was very amenable to the suggested changes. Point is, it’s still a good site, but bear in mind that it’s a big, wide tent for many ideas to be under.

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Wow, that’s awesome. That’s good to know, thank you so much for your response!

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